French Onion Soup

October 5th, 2018 by

Nothing says fall quite like a smoldering bowl of soup. There’s nothing like those chilly days, filling up on rich, aromatic dishes. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I love any opportunity to try out new recipes, especially if they include my other passion: good coffee. This fragrant, cheesy, broiled recipe for French Onion soup is cool weather joy, epitomized.

French Onion Soup

I have always been a huge French Onion soup enthusiast. There was time when it was the only thing I would order when I went out to eat. I’ve always had an affinity for the savory and this was a special treat I could never get enough of. I remember my mother making this recipe for me on snowy days. She used the ceramic two-tone brown bowls allotted for this dish and this dish alone, broiled the cheese, and left the whole house smelling like heaven. My stomach would growl while I waited impatiently for my mother to call me for dinner.

Just like French Onion soup brought my family together on snowy days, the famous dish served as a unifying force in Paris as well. While onion soup had been around for ages, it was considered a food of the poor- many could only afford broth, bread, and onions. This staple was born in the restaurants surrounding les Halles, the only area open to a late night/early morning crowd at the time.

The addition of “gratinee,” or cheese, served as a hearty, affordable breakfast for the blue-collar workers seeking early morning fare or after a hard-partying evening at the cabaret. French Onion soup bridged the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” as customers poured into doors of these little cafés. Inebriated socialites in tuxedos sat beside bloody-aproned butchers at the end of their shifts, indulging in the irresistible late-night fare.

Nowadays, French Onion soup is less culturally charged, but it still is tasty enough to appeal to people from all walks of life. In France, they’d often add caramel and burnt onions to soup to add flavor. We added coffee, brown ale, and unfiltered apple juice, layering ingredients slowly to add to the depth of flavor in this recipe.

We recommend a coffee with some bite, as flavor is the name of the game for this treat. We love the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, light or dark roasted, depending on your preference. If you want a smokier flavor in your soup, go for the dark roast. If you prefer a nuttier, sweeter taste, go for light.

Simmering onions in brown ale and unfiltered apple juice as well as fresh-roasted coffee adds a sweet/salty/tart richness that will make this recipe a go-to all fall and winter. This makes for the perfect Sunday dinner as the days get shorter and cooler. Maybe even try it out as a hangover cure. We’re not saying it’ll work, but it’s worth a shot.

Give this recipe a try this fall and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Ingredients:

Serves: 4 to 6

 

6              medium sweet onions (we used Vidalia)

1              teaspoon dried thyme

1              teaspoon salt

1/2         teaspoon black pepper

2              tablespoons salted butter

8              ounces mild brown ale

16           ounces unfiltered apple juice

32           ounces brewed coffee

1 1/4      tablespoons mushroom or beef bouillon

2              bay leaves

1              fresh baguette, sliced

4              slices Swiss cheese

Directions:

Thin slice onions and add them to a soup pot on medium-high heat. Add butter, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir frequently while the onions reduce and caramelize. Add the brown ale (Newcastle is a great choice!) to deglaze the pan and let the onions reduce again until there is no visible liquid. Add apple juice to deglaze the pan a second time and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes on medium. Combine 32 ounces of fresh brewed coffee (preferably with some acidity, such as our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe) with the bouillon. Add the coffee/bouillon mixture and the bay leaves to the pot and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Broil the baguette until golden. Remove the bay leaves and ladle the soup into oven safe bowls, top with two slices of toasted baguette and a generous slice of cheese. Place in the broiler until the cheese melts/bubbles.

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